Have you been injured in an accident that was not your fault and is now seeking to file a personal injury claim for compensation? Most personal injury cases can be settled out of court before they even go to trial, but quite a few require some legal assistance.
Here are some tips to guide you before you decide to file a personal injury claim.
Careful Considerations Before Filing For A Lawsuit
Does A Policy Cover The Incident?
If you think someone else might be legally responsible for your injury, you should find out if that person has insurance that will kick in and cover the injury claim you wish to make. The process becomes somewhat complicated when the presumed liable party does not have coverage and has little in the way of assets. Winning a claim, in this case, is one thing but collecting on it becomes complicated. If you are not seriously hurt or the fault for the incident is not completely clear, consider whether your own insurance might provide a more satisfactory solution. Think twice before filing against someone who has no insurance.
Decide Whether You Are Going To Hire A Lawyer
If it is clear that the other party’s at fault, and you want to proceed with filing a personal injury claim, at the very least discuss your case with a lawyer. Attorneys at theclarklawoffice.com suggest getting free consultations so that you can get the best advice. Talking with a personal injury attorney is not the same as hiring one, so feel free to do so without strings attached. In most personal injury cases your lawyer will work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing until there is a settlement in your favor. Typically, you will pay a percentage of the settlement as a fee for their service after judgment has been passed. It is a good idea and much easier to have an attorney fighting the fight for you.
Decide Whether To File A Lawsuit Or Not
As mentioned earlier, a lot of injury cases are settled before they go to court. This means that there are ways to be compensated without a lengthy legal process. Out of court does not mean without a lawyer. It is recommended that you still seek legal advice should you wish to pursue this route.
If the presumed at-fault party has insurance that covers liability claims, you can file a Third-Party Claim. The process is as follows:
- Get the name of the at-fault party’s insurance as well as their policy number.
- Send a notice of claim to their insurance company including your details, the at-fault party’s details, and the date of the incident.
- Do not get specific with details at this point.
Statute Of Limitations
Something very important to note is the personal injury statute of limitations in your state. This gives you a time limit in which you must have filed your lawsuit after being injured. This is usually up to 2 years after the injury occurred, or you became aware of the injury. Consult with a lawyer about the laws of your state regarding this.
Filing For A Personal Injury Claim
If trying to settle outside of court through a third-party claim or by other means stalls, or negotiations breakdown you may decide to file a lawsuit. Technically filing a claim should not be difficult. A complaint should be filed with your local branch of your state’s civil court.
The Process Of Filing For A Claim
- Prepare a complaint (a “petition”). This is a formal document in which you state your grievances. You will identify who you are (the “plaintiff”), the person you are filing a claim against (the “defendant”), and the court that you are filing this claim with. This section is referred to as the “caption”.
- The following section consists of numbered paragraphs that explain why the court can and should hear your case. You will also indicate your legal theories, such as medical malpractice, or negligence, in this section. Following your theories, you will need to declare the facts relating to your injury and indicate what you expect in terms of compensation for damages.
- The last part of your petition will contain your signature and/or the signature of your attorney.
Of course, this process can be daunting which is why the biggest tip anyone can give you is to contact someone for legal advice. This way you get the best advice tailored for you and your specific needs.